OG, the 12th best team of 2020, have been gradually slipping down the world rankings following a rough start to the year. The international squad crashed out of cs_summit 7 in 5th-8th place, lost two series in the BLAST Premier Spring Groups and were among the first teams to be knocked out of IEM Katowice.
Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen appeared on Monday as a guest in the ‘HLTV Confirmed’ podcast and discussed whether OG are considering the sort of changes that pundits like Janko “YNk” Paunović and Duncan “Thorin” Shields have deemed inevitable.
“We haven’t thought about it too much,” Aleksib said on the possibility of adding a sixth player. “We are having individual talks, team talks, every kind of talk (laughs). But the thing is that we just bombed out of a tournament that we had high hopes for and that we had practiced really hard for. So right now, we have a period when we are having a lot of discussions. I don’t have exact answers, but all I’m saying is that we are discussing to figure things out.”
OG‘s team members have been playing all tournaments from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Issa “ISSAA” Murad the most affected by the current conditions as he constantly has to deal with high ping. Even if the team decided to make use of OG’s gaming house, located in Lisbon, the Jordanian would not be able to go.
“Anything he [ISSAA] tries to do, when it comes to internet issues, when it comes to a visa if we’re thinking of having a bootcamp, is a problem, everything is super hard because of where he lives,” Aleksib explained. “Usually, in our games, everybody has between 30-50 ping, while ISSAA has 80 or 90. It’s so hard because you don’t know how long this COVID period is going to be and I know for a fact that ISSAA is like a ‘glue’ on LAN, he brings a lot of hype and he shoots better. We think this online period has brought ISSAA down quite a bit, and that’s really unfortunate.
“Today, the embassy said that ISSAA can’t travel to Lisbon, no matter what. Even if he had the visa right now, he couldn’t travel. So we have to think of something else, and that’s again having to take a step back, but we’ll have to figure something as a team.”
OG‘s lineup has been the same since the organisation entered Counter-Strike in December 2019. Last year, the team twice came close to glory, in IEM New York and Flashpoint 2, before losing in the grand final to FaZe and Virtus.pro.
For Aleksib, the lack of silverware isn’t caused by strategic limitations. He believes that the team can contend for more championships once the players step up individually.
“Honestly, I think that the only thing that it takes is us for us to get headshots because we have been a team for 14 months right now and our playbook is really deep,” he said. “The number of scenarios we have been through, the rules we have in place, or the decisions we made when we take control of the map, everything is so detailed. We have so much, more than enough to win something, in my opinion. I feel like we have more than when I was in ENCE, and we won something with ENCE.”
Moving on to ENCE, Aleksib commented on the organisation’s move to build an international roster with only two Finnish players, Aleksi “allu” Jalli and Joonas “doto” Forss. For the OG captain, who played for ENCE for almost two years in two spells between 2016 and 2019, the issues in the team affected the rebuilding process and forced the organisation to look abroad for talent for the first time in the organisation’s history.
“It was kind of a downhill battle for them, everyone battling with mental issues, where you’re getting shitty messages all around, every player is feeling like shit, and all the rumours are going around,” he said. “They couldn’t steer the ship in a better direction and all the players started dropping drop from left to right. All of these things combined, I don’t think it gives the best impression to anyone, right? ENCE most likely didn’t contact every Finnish player, it was a handful of players, I may be wrong on some people, but I know for a fact that some didn’t want to join them and I think it’s just based on everything that happened.”
You can access the full VOD of Monday’s episode of ‘HLTV Confirmed’ below.